Students in the University of Nebraska system generally can expect to pay tuition increases of 2.5% to 3% over each of the next two years.

NU administrators will propose increases to the Board of Regents next Friday at Varner Hall, 3835 Holdrege St. in Lincoln.

The regents’ meeting starts at 9:15 a.m.

The June 28 agenda covers key financial elements for the NU system, which includes institutions in Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney and Curtis. The regents will be asked to approve an operating budget for 2019-20, salary increases, tuition increases and the portion of student fees that deals with facilities, campus recreation and some other items. Another set of student fees, including class laboratory fees, doesn’t require regents’ approval.

NU President Hank Bounds, who will leave the university in August, said that for the most part, tuition increases will be roughly 2.75% across the NU system.

The increases amount to $5 to $7 more per credit hour for most Nebraska undergraduates. Financial aid based on need will increase at a similar rate to minimize the effect on low-income students.

Bounds called the proposal “a minimal increase in tuition, and I’m pretty excited that we can keep it at 2.75.”

Nonresident tuition at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be an exception, with an increase of about 3.75 %.

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Susan Fritz, who will become NU’s interim president when Bounds leaves, said this week that increases in state appropriations of 3% in 2019-20 and 3.7% in 2020-21 have enabled university administrators to recommend modest tuition increases.

“Our most important priority is providing affordable, outstanding education to Nebraskans, and this budget achieves that,” Fritz said through a statement.

“I’m grateful to the Governor and Legislature for funding our request and helping us keep tuition increases to a minimum for our 52,000 students and their families.”

Including the two-year Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, NU’s operating budget would increase about 2.2 % under this proposal, from $973.2 million to $994.5 million. Bounds said that when inflation is considered, NU spending will be flat.

Bounds said faculty and staffers at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska at Kearney are expected to get 2% raises in the coming school year.

But the NU Medical Center and UNL are considerably behind their peers (or comparison schools) in faculty salary, Bounds said, so they will receive a pool of money that is equal to 2.4% raises.

Bounds has said he will leave NU because he is tired and wants to return to the South with his family.

He said beginning in the fall, he will work as a professor at the University of South Alabama. He will teach graduate students in higher education finance and higher education law and ethics.

He said that the proposal “is not a growth budget” and that NU won’t be able to attack the state’s workforce needs with it. To do that, he said, additional investments in scholarships are needed.

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Chart: Comparing Nebraska schools and their peers

The following chart compares Nebraska universities and many of their peer schools. Salary indicates average reported salary 10 years after enrolling, debt indicates student-related debt and ACT indicates the typical range of incoming students.

Note: * - Crete campus

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rick.ruggles@owh.com, 402-444-1123

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